We are constantly bombarded by a seemingly never-ending stream of negative news. And we are hard-wired on an evolutionary level to focus more on the bad news than (admittedly, the harder-to-find) good news. This is a psychological phenomenon known as the negativity bias.
In addition, not only does our brain’s “alarm bell” use more capacity (two-thirds) to look for bad news, but this bad news imprints far more quickly and lingers longer in our memory (in contrast to positive events and experiences, which are usually held in our consciousness for only a dozen or so seconds). There is positive-negative asymmetry.
Thanks to evolution, and our biological and chemical make-up, we register and recall the negative over the positive. Did you really have a bad day, or did you have only a bad 10 to 20 minutes during the day? Have you found yourself fixating on past mistakes or insults but rarely taking note of your achievements or the compliments that you receive? Does it cause you more pain to lose money than the pleasure of gaining an equivalent amount? This last one is an example of another behavioural bias called loss aversion.
So, not only are we subjected to bad news more regularly and easily, we also tend to focus on this more. We cannot do much about the way in which news is reported, since sensationalism sells. However, we can change the news that we actively seek out, and how we interpret it.